Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, was so glorious
that the children of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses
because of its glory that was going to fade,
how much more will the ministry of the Spirit be glorious?
For if the ministry of condemnation was glorious,
the ministry of righteousness will abound much more in glory.
In today’s first reading Saint Paul compares the passing glory of Moses’ face with the endless glory of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. The Law of Moses bears only a faint resemblance to the gift which Jesus has given us.
People often ask their priests to bless religious objects: rosaries, prayer books, holy water and so forth. That touch and prayer of the priest convey a kind of glory to the object and its owner.
I think it’s especially our prayer which shines through sacred objects, gestures, rituals and people. I think of a woman who facilitated a discussion group in which I took part. We were a troubled bunch of adults but her calm seemed to ground each one of us on the earth. She seemed to steady the conversation and bind us to each other. She didn’t say much but I knew she was living in, and being, the presence of God.
During these troubled times, as we contend no longer with what might happen (future shock) but with what is happening (present shock) – so much remains beyond our imagination and unfathomable -- Christians must be a glow of God’s reassuring presence in our world. We might have no more insight into what is happening than anyone else. Are the times degenerate or blossoming with new hope? Is this the best of times or the worse?
That’s for historians to determine at some later date. Our part is to shine today with the glory of our confidence in God, our patience under trial and our generosity in times of scarcity.